By Lisa Crewe | Posted on May 30, 2018
Q&A with John LoMedico, VP of Corporate Development
At the end of last year, we announced general availability of our CFP2-DCO module, which Cignal AI analyst Andrew Schmitt called “the darling device of 2H17.” Acacia designed this module to help cloud and telecommunications providers reduce operational and capital expenses, increase reach and accelerate time-to-market of high-capacity solutions.
These pluggable modules are suitable for a wide range of network applications, including data center interconnect, metro access, metro core, and long-haul, as well as emerging applications including remote PHY and client optical interfaces up to 80 km.
Acacia CFP2-DCO Coherent Module
Yesterday, Oclaro and Acacia announced that the companies are teaming up to enable a multi-vendor environment of fully interoperable CFP2-DCO modules based on Acacia’s Meru DSP. I talked with John LoMedico, VP of Corporate Development, who worked with Oclaro to ink the deal to find out more.
John LoMedico, VP of Corporate Development, Acacia Communications
Q: What exactly are Acacia and Oclaro announcing?
Until now, Acacia has been the only provider of production CFP2-DCO modules, having announced general availability back in December of 2017. Now, the supply chain will have a second source — Oclaro and Acacia have entered into an agreement that allows Oclaro to launch a new CFP2-DCO module based on the Acacia Meru DSP that will feature plug-and-play compatibility with the Acacia CFP2-DCO module.
Acacia Meru DSP
Q: What does this mean for customers?
It means that customers will be able to buy fully interoperable CFP2-DCO modules from two prominent coherent optical module companies, thereby providing a more robust supply chain with two sources, which customers’ desire.
With this agreement, we believe we have addressed a significant adoption hurdle for those Tier 1 network operators who require multiple sources. Acacia and Oclaro believe that this collaboration will increase the pace of adoption and degree of penetration of the Meru-based CFP2-DCO format worldwide, thereby enabling Acacia to accelerate the adoption of the CFP2 DCO form factor at 100G/200G.
Q: Will the Oclaro and Acacia modules have common specifications?
The companies are working closely together to ensure that the specifications are interoperable with common specifications. The modules will be plug-in replacements for each other.
Q: Will modules from other companies interoperate with Oclaro or Acacia modules?
To ensure interoperability at the higher performing proprietary 200G mode, it is necessary to use the same Acacia DSP leveraging SD-FEC.
Q: What about at 100G mode? Are there no interoperable modes available for other companies using lower performance industry standard FEC?
Interoperability is possible in the lower-performing 100G mode using HD-FEC. However, we believe the majority of use cases for CFP2-DCO modules will require the highest performance possible for metro and regional networks thereby demanding the use of SD-FEC. As such, interoperability at the higher performing and proprietary 200G mode is only supported between Oclaro and Acacia Meru-based CFP2-DCO modules.
Q: Does this signal a transition of the Acacia model toward merchant chip sales?
Acacia has always selectively engaged in chip sales where we feel it is strategically beneficial. While sales to an interoperable module vendor is a new model for us, we entered into this agreement with Oclaro based on our determination that this should be an opportunity for us to grow our sales. In the short and mid-term, we don’t believe there will be a significant impact to our historical mix of module and component sales. Over time, if the collaboration meets our expectations, we could see an increase in the volume of DSP sales through the relationship. We have also talked about our standalone PIC sales potentially impacting the mix of modules and components over time, as well.
Q: Do you think this will open up new markets?
We have been hearing from network operators that they would be more likely to deploy a CFP2-DCO solution, in metro core and regional applications as well as emerging cable access and 5G applications, if there were a second source. We also know that larger NEM customers tend to prefer a multi-sourced ecosystem.
With a multi-vendor environment, customers will be able to buy fully interoperable CFP2-DCO modules from Acacia and Oclaro. We see this as an exciting opportunity for Acacia and we believe a multi-vendor environment will help accelerate the adoption of the Meru-based CFP2-DCO modules.